From Denomination to Geographic Location, Diversity is Key at Camp Shoresh

Written by Kol HaBirah Staff on . Posted in Features

There was no shortage of memorable moments at Camp Shoresh’s Grandparents and Special Friends Day, an opportunity for campers, parents, and grandparents to take advantage of the camp's amenities, experience the camp ruach (spirit), and get to know the staff.

Big-name guest attendees included Baltimore Ravens linebacker Jaylen Hill, towering former NBA center Gheorghe Muresan (at 7-foot-7, he is the tallest player ever in the NBA), and former Maryland Terp basketball star Sean Mosley. They participated in many of the activities — including softball, soccer, and musical chairs — providing a level of competition and challenge that the campers likely don’t often experience.

The high energy level, palpable throughout the day, seemed to grow stronger with each activity. First, the attendees gathered in the camp’s spacious main communal hall for the national anthem and a game of musical chairs with hundreds of participants.

Smaller groups then participated in soccer, softball, arcade games (in the state-of-the-art game room), rock climbing, and zip lining (on what may be one of the largest zip lines in Maryland). Dozens of other games and sports stretched across Shoresh’s beautiful campus. The camp's motto, “A Jewish Day Camp with an overnight Feel,” definitely resonated after experiencing its grounds and amenities. Helicopter rides added to the energy and action.

While watching a game of softball, Dr. Robert Edelman described how he started Camp Shoresh in his backyard in Frederick, Maryland, 39 years ago because his kids needed a camp. Sam Finkelstein, brother of current Camp Director “Rabbi Dave” Finkelstein, was one of the co-founders. He and Steve Attman, the president of Shoresh’s board, talked about how proud they are of Shoresh’s commitment to Jews of all backgrounds. Attman said that their goal is to help kids understand their Jewish roots and to be better Jews, regardless of their affiliation. “Our campers are looking for someone to talk to, to respect, who knows about Judaism,” he said, and the camp has amazing staff members who offer that to them, including Rabbi Dave and Assistant Director Rabbi Tzvi Tuchman (“Rabbi T”).

Indeed, the camp’s unique approach to its campers was evident when speaking with staff and campers alike. Campers and staff come from all over the region, including Ashburn, Virginia; Baltimore, Frederick, Potomac, and Silver Spring, Maryland; and Washington, D.C. At Shoresh, campers from across the Jewish spectrum play and learn harmoniously together.